Ibiza locals will almost always put winter as their favourite time of year, with its slower and more tranquil pace of life. Forget summer party holidays, full of overcrowded beaches, nightclubs and tourists who aren’t interested in the island’s culture or heritage; a winter retreat to Ibiza is all about resting, rejuvenating and uncovering a more authentic side of Spanish life.
Shopping & Spas
The Spanish flair of Ibiza becomes much more apparent in the winter time. Stroll down Ibiza Town and you’ll be struck by how it transforms in the low-season from a rowdy all-night party to a calm traditional Spanish town. Relaxed al fresco cafes serve up tasty tapas dishes to the locals and although in winter the bars and shops by the port are closed, there are still many shops open by the harbour and under the city walls. Here, high-end labels such as Mango, Diesel and Levis are available at more reasonable prices than they sell for in the summer.
Near to the inland town of San Lorenzo is Ibiza’s famous Atzaró Spa. This decadent spa has a far-eastern feel, with Bali inspired décor complementing the Mediterranean weather and plants. Built within an ancient orange farm, the spa smells as good as it looks with the orange blossom scents mixing with the rosemary and lavender bushes. Take it easy lounging by the 43m pool, wander to the Bubbles Bar for a detoxing smoothie or book an appointment for an Asian massage, dry sauna or Elemis facial treatment.
Take advantage of Ibiza being quiet in the low-season to fully explore the island’s natural beauty (it’s not all laser beams and flashing lights!). If you want to shake out the cobwebs, trek the almond blossom walk from San Antonio, through the pretty almond orchards in the valley and all around the village of Santa Agnes. Find more info here.
With temperature highs of up to 19°c, and without the large summer crowds, the winter months can be a great time to enjoy the spectacular and secluded Balearic beaches. The most iconic turquoise beaches in Ibiza are on the beautiful shores of Formentera Island – definitely worth the effort of a day trip. There’s a chance for celeb-spotting here, with Formentera’s hippie past attracting famous bohemian visitors such as Kate Moss and Bob Dylan.
Little remains of Ibiza’s religious Arabic architecture as the Catalan people tore down the main mosque in the 13th century. The simple white chapels, iconic monuments Balearic countryside, were all mostly built during the 18th century but some of the older churches, like the ones in Santa Eulalia, San Antonio and Sant Jordi date back to the 1400s. Ibiza Cathedral in Ibiza Town is perhaps the most famous church due to its size and impressive clock tower. The cathedral was built in 1235 to replace the Arab mosque and has been added to and developed over the years to create a unique layout with many different examples of historic architecture.
For some non-religious sightseeing visit the highly recommended Cova de Can Marca, the 100,000 year old caves nestled inside a cliff in Port de Sant Miquel de Balansat. Created by telluric faults, the caves are 14 metres high and have amazing examples of underground pools, stalactites and stalagmites. Find out more about the island’s famous sights with Neil Schlect’s and CV Villas’ Ibiza guide.
With all the tourist food vendors closed in the low-season, winter is the best time to discover authentic Balearic cuisine in the countryside taverns.
Try sofrit pagés, a meaty spicy stew made from chicken, local sausages, lamb, peppers and potatoes. It’s not one for those looking to watch their waistline but it’s a delicious treat to fill up on after a long day exploring. For dessert there’s the Spanish version of cheesecake, flaó . This sweet cheese tart is made from mascarpone and eggs, flavoured with mint and anise and then topped with lashings of sugar. Herbal liquors are also very popular in Ibiza and one of the most traditional aperitifs is Frigola. Infused with the popular anise flavour, the sweet liquor is typically served after lunch – ensure it’s served cold to enjoy it at its best.
The best restaurant in Ibiza is S’Ametller in Ibiza Town. Serving up fantastic Mediterranean cuisine, S’Ametller changes its menu according to the seasons, creating dishes that make the most of the winter or summer produce. The winter tasting menu includes exciting dishes like pumpkin cream with crispy rice, duck confit, veal loin with grape sauce and tangerine flan with almond ice cream.
Even in the quiet months there are still plenty of opportunities to let your hair down in Ibiza. The San Mateo Wine Festival occurs every December with local wine tasting, tasty food stalls, live music and lots of dancing. Also, every February the Fiesta de “Mardi Gras” parade goes through both Sant Eulalia and Sant Antoni, with colorful floats, costumes and lively Spanish music.
Where to stay
La Ventana villa is located just two kilometres from Santa Eulalia, perfect for a secluded stay, just 300m from Siesta beach. Simply furnished in a soft colour palette, the villa is an excellent choice for two couples or a small family. A stroll along the water’s edge would take you to livelier Santa Eulalia and cycling is a popular way to discover the south coast from here.
Villa Ramos is a traditional terracotta building, with plenty of indoor and outdoor space for big get-togethers. When the sun shines, relax by the pool and dine in under the alfresco terrace and when it’s cooler, unwind with the hydro-massage showers and a Jacuzzi bath. Villa Ramos is close to local shops and restaurants, about a fifteen minute walk from Neu Blau beach.